Developer gets cracking on unapproved Chula Vista project

Barney Reed and Jay Silverstein, looking across Olympic Pointe development toward Otay Lake
  • Barney Reed and Jay Silverstein, looking across Olympic Pointe development toward Otay Lake

Chula Vista residents who have been battling the city and the developer about a proposed 284-condo/apartment complex in eastern Chula Vista were alarmed last week when earth-movers appeared on the scene.

Barney Reed, a spokesperson for the Eastlake Action Group, said the project has not yet been approved by the city council, so, “Why is the developer grading and compacting?”

In September, the Chula Vista City Council approved a general-plan zone change for the 12.2 acres — from commercial zoning to mixed-use. The change made way for Integral Communities’ Lake Pointe project.

Since that time, Integral has been working with the community and the city to address problems identified by residents. Members of the action group continue to be unappeased.

On Saturday, December 1, Barney Reed and Jay Silverstein, another Eastlake Action Group member, offered a tour of the area to try to demonstrate the impacted nature of the project area. From a vantage point overlooking the proposed project, Reed pointed out that there are four high-density condo/home developments within 1/10 of a mile of the Lake Pointe project area.

Even though it was the weekend, construction workers were hard at work at Olympic Pointe condos, directly adjacent to the proposed project. Olympic Pointe, also an Integral Communities development, will contain 427 units. The target market, according to Olympic’s website, is “Move up renters and displaced homeowners.”

The website describes the location as “nestled on a hill…[with] Panoramic lake and mountain views.” But neighborhood residents such as Silverstein say that the scenic quality and commercial opportunities are being wiped out by the concentration of development.

Partial view of lot for Lake Pointe development

Partial view of lot for Lake Pointe development

Silverstein said, “Otay Lake and the Olympic Training Center are community assets. They are part of a concept that home buyers in this area bought into, and they are supposed to attract tourists for the benefit of the whole city. You shouldn’t just plunk another condo development down on this last piece of undeveloped property adjacent to the Olympic Training Center.”

The residents have many concerns — unresolved parking overflow is at the top of the list. Reed said, “The condo developments that already exist, Graystone and Summer Hill, clearly don’t have enough parking spaces per unit; the streets inside are painted red so the excess cars bleed into the surrounding residential and city park areas.”

Last week, Chula Vista city staff held a community meeting about the proposed Lake Pointe project. At least 60 residents showed up. Reed and Silverstein did not believe the meeting was productive but it allowed their group to collect more signatures on their latest petition.

The petition calls upon the Chula Vista City Council to “follow the law”; it argues that the city cannot change zoning in the master plan through an addendum if the change is going to have significant new effects on the environment. Reed turned in 193 signed petitions this week.

The group is also looking into a potential legal problem for the city because they believe that the city council was “capricious and arbitrary” in their decision-making.

Reached late on December 3, Lance Waite, speaking for Integral Communities, said he can’t believe that the residents surrounding the project area are not persuaded by the many concessions the company has made. According to Waite, Integral has reduced the number of units by 60, increased parking both outside and inside the development, and increased the amount of retail space.

Reed countered in a follow-up interview that “though the number of units has been reduced, the number of bedrooms per unit were increased. In today’s society another bedroom means [more] cars.”

As for the earth-movers, Waite says the city has given Integral permission to stockpile and spread the dirt.

Waite said he had hoped the revised project would go before the city in December, but he believes it has been delayed until January.

Comments

After driving around those neighborhoods, I was surprised by the amount of high density housing that has already been built in the immediate area of these projects. I was under the impression that avoiding urban sprawl was a state priority. It seems that any project that brings some gold to city hall to pay off debt is welcome, no matter the consequences. It may be too late to change the zoning back to commercial, but this should be a good lesson for residents of newer housing. What you were sold as the general plan for your district may not be what actually is approved in the future.

It's also a lesson on why getting involved in the city's "community outreach" is a waste of time. Many people spent a lot of time and energy meeting, discussing, compromising, and finally agreeing on a general plan. Now, with an addendum, the city gives the developers what they want and ignores the residents. Everyone, especially long-time residents should take a ride out to Otay Lake to see how it's been tragically ruined by these greedy developers and our enabling city council. What a shame. Those hills beyond the lake are probably next.

johndewey -- great comment, and so true! Please consider sending it as a "letter-to-the-Editor" to the Star-News. Just send it to: carlos@thestarnews.com

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